Sudan protesters set demands for military rulers

Mohamed At

Sudan's statement expressing continued support for the Saudi-led coalition comes amid heated protests that have toppled Omar al-Bashir's rule.

Follow the money American actor George Clooney, who has campaigned hard to draw attention to the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, over the weekend urged world powers to pressure the military "to turn over full executive power to a civilian-led transitional government".

But the protesters' elation quickly turned to anger as Ibn Auf, a long-time al-Bashir loyalist, announced the establishment of a two-year transitional military council and later was sworn in as its head.

"A military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan", it said. They demanded the dissolution of Bashir's National Congress Party and said they received affirmation from the TMC that the party will not participate in a transitional government.

"We urge Sudan's new leadership to take the steps necessary to build domestic and worldwide support to help resolve Sudan's many pressing challenges", it said.

A military spokesman said Sunday it will name a civilian prime minister and Cabinet - but not a president - to help govern the country.

Speaking for the first time since the removal of Bashir, 75, last Thursday, representatives of the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) said they would not co-operate with the ruling council unless their demands were met.

The council chief General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan is "committed to having a complete civilian government and the role of the council will be to maintain the sovereignty of the country", it added.


The protesters, numbering about 5,000 with more arriving, chanted "Freedom, freedom" and "Revolution, revolution", and appealed to the army to protect them, Reuters reported.

The SPA also demanded the next "transitional government and the armed forces bring Bashir and all the chiefs of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS).to justice".

The protest outside the compound, which also includes the intelligence headquarters and the presidential residence, began on April 6, after more than three months of protests triggered by a deepening economic crisis.

Britain's ambassador to Sudan, Irfan Siddiq, said he had met the deputy head of the transitional military council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, and had "asked for clarity on whereabouts of former President Bashir and other senior former regime figures".

"The decision whether to extradite [Bashir] to ICC will be made by a popularly elected government and not the transitional military council", military council member Jalaluddin Sheikh told journalists during a visit to the Ethiopian capital.

There has been no mention of the reasons why they were picked up and who exactly had been arrested.

The deputy leader of Sudan's ruling military council, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Daqlo, met in Khartoum on Sunday with USA charge d'affaires Steven Koutsis.

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